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JWM study: Energy extraction harming ferruginous hawk


Cara J

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New findings suggest that intensive oil and gas operations may be causing long-term local population declines in the ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), the largest species of American hawk, which soars in the open skies above the prairies, mountains and deserts where oil and gas development can be vigorous. Funded by a North Dakota state wildlife grant, the study monitored breeding ferruginous hawks in two regions of the western part of the state undergoing different levels of energy extraction. The Bakken Shale to the northwest is an area of significant oil and gas activity where over 1,200 new wells were drilled between 2011 and 2013. The other research site, in the southwest, added fewer than 20 new wells during the same period. The biologists drove along roads in these two areas, searching for the hawk’s huge, conspicuous nests. They counted the fledglings in these nests during the first year and the percent of nests that were re-used the following year. Although there was no difference in reproductive success in the two areas, strikingly fewer nests were reoccupied in the Bakken Shale region, researchers found. Because the hawks usually return to the same nest year after year, the results were “startling,” said [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/jwm-study-energy-extraction-harming-ferruginous-hawk/

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